There’s a lot of noise in the marketplace, and the competition for local businesses is fiercer than ever. Gone are the days of making a pretty ad, recording a catchy jingle, and calling it a day. If you want to win the heart of the modern consumer, you need to connect with them on a personal level—and you need to do it often.  

Building a digital presence is a great place to start. Your online presence is the first impression many potential customers will get of your business and it can set the stage for long-term relationships. It can help you build credibility, connect and communicate with customers, and grow your business. But you can’t build a stellar online presence if you don’t have a clear plan of attack. 

Whether you’re just starting out or you’re a marketing veteran, the world of digital marketing can be overwhelming. With so many tactics to try, software solutions to juggle, and numbers to analyze, getting started can feel overwhelming.

Allow us to help you out. 

In this article, we’ll go over how to put together a marketing strategy and we’ll touch on various digital marketing tactics small businesses should try. 

Woman on her phone

Setting Your Strategy 

First things first, let’s talk strategy. Jumping into digital marketing with your eyes closed isn’t going to get you anywhere. You need to understand what you’re trying to accomplish and have a clear plan that will help you get there. 

As you strategize, make sure to: 

→ Set Measurable Goals. Examples of measurable digital marketing goals include: 

  • Gain X amount of reviews per month. 
  • Increase website traffic by X% each month.
  • Increase social media followers by X% by the end of the year. 

→ Know Your Audience. If you want to market effectively, you need to know who you’re marketing to. Consider creating customer profiles to help you understand who your customers are, what their pain points are, and where they’re spending their time—both online and in the real world.

→ Test, adjust, repeat. Even the most well-thought-out ideas sometimes don’t go as planned. Digital marketing is all about testing, monitoring, adjusting, and learning. The best digital marketers embrace failure and look at it as an opportunity to learn, improve, and see better results in future campaigns.  

Digital Marketing Tactics Small Businesses Should Try

Now, let’s get into the meat and potatoes. Setting goals is one thing, but putting things into motion so that you can actually hit those goals is something else entirely. Here are five digital marketing tactics every small business should try. 

1 – Search Engine Optimization

An astounding 97% of people learn more about local companies online than anywhere else. Furthermore, 46% of all Google searches are looking for local information.

The data doesn’t lie—potential customers are looking for you online. Are they finding you? If not, it’s time to step up your search engine optimization (SEO) game. SEO is the process of optimizing your website to improve your ranking in search engine results pages (SERPs). 

You need to make sure your site is: 

Relevant: Update your site regularly and perform keyword research so you know what terms people use to search for your business. 

Easy to Read: Use clear headlines, short paragraphs, and bulleted lists. And make sure description tags for pictures or videos are accurate.

→Performant: Google loves a fast, easy-to-navigate website, so keep speed and overall user experience in mind as you build your site. 

Want to get into the nitty-gritty? Check out Google’s official SEO Starter Guide

Social media marketing

2 – Social Media Marketing

Social media can be a game-changer for businesses of any size. And the best part is, getting started with social media is totally free. Here are some tips to help you get started:

Choose the right platform(s). Sure, Facebook has 2.9 billion users, but if your target audience is spending most of their time on TikTok, focusing on Facebook won’t do you much good. To identify the right social platform for your business, start by getting clear on your ideal customer. How old are they? What kinds of content do they consume? Which social media platforms are people already using to talk about your business?

Identify your goals. Figure out what you’re trying to achieve with social media. Are you trying to spread brand awareness? Send people to your website? Get more people engaging with your content? Understanding your goals will help you create an effective social strategy. 

Be consistent. Success on social media takes time, and consistency is the key to growth. You probably won’t go viral the first time you post, but if you make an effort to post engaging, shareable, and useful content consistently, everything else will fall into place. 

3 – Text Marketing

The modern consumer wants businesses to text them. And according to recent research, local businesses are situated to reach their consumers’ text message inboxes more often than major chains and eCommerce players. But surprisingly, only 12% of local and small businesses use text marketing in their digital marketing strategies.

If you’re thinking about dipping your toes into the world of text message marketing, keep the following best practices in mind. 

Use conversational language. Avoid complicated messages filled with industry-specific jargon. Instead, keep your messages light, short, and conversational—like you’re talking to a friend. 👌😉

→ Address the customer by name. On that note, make sure to address your customers by name. It personalizes the conversation, which is a big plus for the modern consumer. 

→ Take advantage of automation. One of the best parts of text marketing is that it’s very automatable. Set up triggered responses and use templates to save your team a lot of time. 

→ Use images, gifs, videos, and links. Our research shows that customers are more likely to engage with texts that include these elements. 

text marketing statistic

4 – Paid Search Ads

So you’ve been working on your organic social media presence, you’re consistently gathering reviews, and your SEO strategy is allowing you to show up on the first page of the search results. Now what? It may be time for you to invest in paid advertising. 

The bad news: You will have to come up with some budget for this digital marketing tactic. 

The good news: 

  • The costs are easy to manage, as you pay on a cost-per-click basis. 
  • Ads can be built and online in a matter of minutes with help from tools like Google Ads
  • The results can be next-level. 

To get started, figure out the keywords your customers are searching for, include those keywords in a description of the product or service you’re advertising, set a maximum daily budget, and monitor the results closely. 

And of course, don’t be afraid to test and adjust your paid search ads often. Experimentation brings the best results. 

Check Out Our Digital Marketing for Beginners Guide 

Feeling inspired? Ready to dive into the world of digital marketing, take your online presence to the next level, connect with more customers, and grow your business? 

We figured you might feel that way, so we partnered with Hubspot and Similarweb to create a Beginner’s guide to digital marketing. The guide goes over everything you read in this article and so much more. If you’ve been looking to up your marketing game but you’ve been unsure of where to start, this one is for you. 

Check out Digital Marketing for Beginners.

Kailey Boucher
Kailey Boucher Content Marketing Specialist

Kailey is a Content Marketing Specialist at Podium, the premiere marketing and communications platform that connects local businesses with their customers. 

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